Sunday, January 13, 2013

Zach’s Amazing Dream Machine by Pat Dale

Zach Mason, a precocious seventh grader who idolizes his grandfather Gentry, writes short stories for his English teacher but gets into trouble by insisting they’re true.

Enrolled in preliminary college classes, Zach puts his brain to work to convince his teacher and classmates he’s telling the truth. The result is Zach’s dream machine. After contending with pal Wally, nemesis Kenneth, and sister Liz, Zach learns something about life when his scheme goes awry. He’s up to his eyebrows warding off one intrigue after another, including a sneaky science teacher who tries to steal it.

This really is more of a memorial than a review, not that the story didn’t earn five roses on its own merit.  Dale Thompson wrote as Pat Dale.  A couple of years ago, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and told the condition was terminal.  Neither Dale nor his wife accepted that prognosis and they sought a second opinion.  They fought the disease together using both traditional and non-traditional, holistic methods, and Dale beat the disease.  At Thanksgiving of this year his doctors declared him cancer free, and Dale felt well enough to start writing full-time again.  A battle like that, however, takes its toll on one’s body.  A week ago, Dale’s wife came home after running some errands and found him collapsed on the floor.  He had a massive heart attack.  The paramedics were unable to revive him.

Now, to Zach’s Amazing Dream Machine…  Zach creates his machine to prove that his grandfather’s stories are real.  The machine truly is amazing in that it records people’s thoughts and plays back the videos as sharply as though one was there.  To Zach, however, the machine is a failure.  It does not prove the veracity of anything.  It records his best friend’s dream of beating Michael Jordan in a one-on-one game of basketball.  It reveals an embarrassing triad of unrequited love among the teachers at his school, and it reveals his dreams of the stories his grandfather told him, proving that his grandfather is a great storyteller, but not that the stories are true.  Everyone knows Zach’s best friend has never beaten MJ in a game of horse.  Nor has the chemistry teacher hooked up with either the gym or English teachers.  Well, the English teacher knows she hasn’t gotten anywhere with the Chemistry teacher and she’s the one who is accusing Zach of making up the stories about his grandfather.  Now she knows why she hasn’t gotten anywhere with her colleague, darn it.

Zach’s Amazing Dream Machine is a Young Adult book, and maybe I’m young at heart, because it hooked me on the first page and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  But then, I enjoyed all of Robert A. Heinlein's YA stories and I read them as an adult, as well.  We’ve lost a great talent.  Rest in peace, Dale.

Length:  @ 76 Pages
Price:  $3.50

You’ll notice I always include the publisher’s buy link.  That’s because authors usually receive 40% of the book price from the publisher.  Editors and cover artists usually receive about 5%.  When you buy a book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or another third-party vendor, they take a hefty cut and the author, editors and cover artists receive their cuts from what is left.  So, if a book costs $5.99 at E-Book and you buy from there, the author will receive about $2.40.  If you buy the book at Amazon, the author will receive about $0.83.

Downloading the file from your computer to your Kindle is as easy as transferring any file from your computer to a USB flash drive.  Plug the USB end of your chord into a USB port on your computer and simply move the file from your “Downloads” box to your Kindle/Documents/Books directory.  I actually download my books using “Save As” to a “Books” file I created on my computer that’s sorted by my publisher, friends, and books “to review,” and then transfer them to my Kindle from there.  That way, if there’s a glitch with my Kindle, the books are on my computer.  Your author will be happy you did when he/she sees his/her royalty statement.

Thanks for visiting.  RIW


  1. Such a sad story. Not the book. It sounds like a fun read!

  2. Yes, we lost a friend and a wonderful writer. And the book was a fun read.

  3. Hi Rochelle,

    Very nice memorial. Dale will be greatly missed!